Monday, September 09, 2013

Richard Huntington Pepper and Princess Hope

Rich Pepper, Princess' Counsel
Today is the first day of criminal court, so Rich Pepper will be too busy to have me arrested today. But I've been dying to tell this story about one of Northampton County's more colorful lawyers. He once represented a Princess.

His name is Richard Huntington Pepper. He's a blueblood who flies airplanes, skis and hangs around with rich people. For reasons known only to his psychiatrist, he's always had a soft spot for me, a penniless drunk. Once, while slightly under the influence during a sailing trip in the Chesapeake Bay, I blasted a foghorn right into his ear. I was waking him up from a sound sleep in the middle of a foggy night. Though we couldn't see more than two feet, he was furious, and chased me around the boat. He finally caught me and tossed me overboard. I ended up in the drink, tangled up in crab traps. That normally would have been the end of it. But in the mists, we could hear the "put-put-put" of several motorboats. On our port side. Then starboard. Then the stern, Then the bow.

We blew the horn.

"What the fuck was that?" asked a voice in the distance, followed by put-put-put..

Before we knew it, we were surrounded by furious crabbers and swarms of all kinds of flies that followed their boats in the fog. We were apparently right in the middle of their crabbing fields. They were ready to execute us, right then and there, on the high seas. I wanted to board them and fight, and gave the order as Captain. Pepper, Chris Spadoni and Dwight Danser ignored me and put their legal training to work. The crabbers spared us, drifting away after being bought off with apologies and alcohol.

The flies stayed.

Fast forward a few years. Pepper is appointed to represent a woman accused of not paying her hotel bill. When he visits her at jail, she tells him she can't be prosecuted because she has immunity. She's Princess Hope, from some Caribbean country. Her father the King  would be unhappy to learn that his daughter was in jail over such a trifling matter. So Pepper filed a motion demanding the immediate release of Princess Hope.

The hearing was conducted by Judge Jim Hogan, another sailor who accompanied my father on several expeditions before Northampton County lawyers were eventually banned from sailing.  

Pepper noticed two older women in the back of the courtroom, who were just shaking their heads. He called Princess Hope to the stand, and she very convincingly explained that, as a Princess, she was immune from our petty laws. After all, her face was on the currency in her homeland. She closed by telling Judge Hogan, "And by the way, Mr. Pepper has the biggest cock I've ever seen!"

Judge Hogan, who had also sailed with Pepper, took judicial notice that the object mentioned was, in fact, considerably smaller than represented. That alone provided a basis for discounting the rest of Princess Hope's testimony, as compelling as it might be.

Then the two women in the rear of the courtroom spoke. They were the princess' mother and grandmother. The Princess was, in fact, from New Jersey. She was a college student who had stopped taking her meds.

The young lady was committed until things could be sorted out. She eventually did graduate from college and Pepper tells me she sent him a nice note.

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